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kokkinos





  • #371
  • Posted: 01/15/2022 22:33
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Hayden wrote:
Yet another album that has entered a different decade Laughing

(I always thought it was a '59 release— looks like the data is conflicting). Looks like BEA changed it a few days ago.


Yeah, not sure if you caught it, baystateoftheart posted this in the "Get To Know A Top 10" thread...

baystateoftheart wrote:
PSA: I just corrected the date on Drums Of Passion from the '59 recording date to the '60 release date, and because that's a change of decade it lost about half of its points. Luckily the spotlight is on it now with this thread, so it's a good time for people to update decade and year charts to restore its rank.


...which clears things up.



LedZep wrote:
I don't think I've ever gone through the whole Beatles discography, nevermind the solo stuff. Not the biggest fan, I guess. I agree that everything's been said about them already, but the same is true for Dylan, and that project was a lot of fun. I do generally like your full discog project a lot, so maybe I'm biased Laughing


There was a time I wasn’t ready to accept the possibility of someone not being a fan of The Beatles, but I think I’ve reached a point where I’m fine with it. Mr. Green
And you are right about Dylan, though a major difference is that -spoiler alert- I consider my ranking of The Beatles’ discography much more conventional – also known as boring – compared to Dylan’s, so there’s that as well. Anyway, for now I’ve listened to some 1964 albums and we’ll see how it goes.
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  • #372
  • Posted: 01/15/2022 23:04
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Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles
Any album that features two forces of nature such as Freddie and Herbie together is destined to be great. This might initially give the impression they don’t reach their full potential, it feels as if something holds them back, they are too subtle or restrained if you will. Not sure if that thought will go away after multiple listens, there’s a very good chance it will, considering that his records up to that point (Takin’ Off and My Point Of View) were more straightforward and instantly likable. One thing’s for sure, this album is willing to experiment in various ways, it just keeps moving and it keeps the listeners on their toes throughout its entirety. We have the privilege of witnessing Herbie slowly evolve into what he became known for and the ride is fascinating.
7/10.


Eric Dolphy - Out To Lunch!
I’ve always been a big fan of Eric Dolphy, yet the one record of his that is universally acclaimed hasn’t made it to my favourites yet. Maybe I got off to a bad start with it when I started discovering Eric Dolphy, as I wasn’t ready for it yet – it can be too progressive, especially if you come unprepared, definitely not an easy listen - and since then I’ve focused on some of his other albums, which I ended up liking more. No matter how great Out To Lunch! Is, there’s one question in everyone’s mind: where would he have gone after this? Unfortunately, that’s a mystery that will never be solved, what a tragic loss.
7.5/10.


Lee Morgan - The Sidewinder
Not quite my jam, but this is flawlessly executed hard bop. Very few – if any – can compare with Lee Morgan and his trumpet in that regard. He follows the same very successful formula that made him a legend and you might argue this is the album where he perfected it.
6/10.


Muddy Waters - Folk Singer
Keeping the same theme as the above, that’s another absolutely essential record that doesn’t appeal to me that much. And what a totally misleading title, that’s as blues as it gets. A sparse, back to basics album, though it has to be said that the recording quality is very high and the overall atmosphere isn’t as hopeless or gritty as one might expect, I guess it should be relatively accessible to people who aren't huge fans of the blues.
6/10.
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  • #373
  • Posted: 01/16/2022 22:11
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The Ronettes - Presenting The Fabulous ...g Veronica
Rest in peace, Ronnie Spector. Even though group girl offered us many beautiful moments in the ‘60s, this album really stands out. That’s mainly due to the gorgeous vocals, which are accompanied by a “heavy” production – I don’t mean that as a criticism, it fits nicely the themes of teenage romance, where everything appears more dramatic than it is. Be My Baby is one of the greatest songs of all time – and quite possibly the sweetest. The rest of it doesn’t come anywhere close to it, but holds up reasonably well. For any pop album – especially of that era – to come up with a track list that contains pretty much no filler is quite an achievement, big props to them.
7.5/10.


The Animals - The Animals
They didn’t take advantage of the album format as successfully as some of their contemporaries did, but this shouldn’t take anything away from their legacy, they are one of the essential bands of the so called British Invasion that changed popular music forever. I wrote something about them when I commented on Bringing It All Back Home, so it feels appropriate to copy paste it here: “Rumour has it Bob Dylan listened to the Animals’ cover of The House Of The Rising Sun and had a moment of epiphany, realising that traditional folk and electric blues/rock aren’t meant to live in separation from one another forever, they can work together. If that’s true, well, Animals, I can’t thank you enough.“ Other than that, Eric Burdon is a legend – and, believe it or not, he still rocks nowadays – the rest of the band is on point as well, maybe not spectacular or diverse, but they do play to their strengths.
7/10.


The Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones


And (it's the UK and US version of the same album)

The Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones...it Makers)
Speaking of the British Invasion, here comes another heavily discussed debut album, it’s The Rolling Stones. I have to be honest and tell you that they’ve always been in the mix for my least favourite band of the bunch, though I’d like to believe my relationship with them has improved through the years. Even though it consists of covers for the most part – the 3 originals are Now I've Got a Witness (which is an instrumental), Little By Little, Tell Me (You’re Coming Back) - it sounds extremely fresh, that’s the sound of a young and promising, full of energy band that’s ready to take the world by storm. If you are confused and wondering what’s going on with the UK and US versions, don’t worry, there’s only one difference, Not Fade Away replaces Mona (I Need You Baby), the rest is identical.
6.5/10.


The Rolling Stones - 12 x 5
No improvement compared to their debut. If anything, I’d count this as a minor setback. We can find 5 originals this time, but they are still at a point where their songwriting hasn’t developed yet and is disappointingly one-sided, while they remain too close to the tradition and their idols without having shaped a clear artistic identity, so I might prefer some of the covers instead.
6/10.
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  • #374
  • Posted: 01/17/2022 22:08
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Stan Getz & João Gilberto - Getz/Gilberto
Oh yeah, this is it! Out of the ones I’ve listened so far – not that many if I’m being honest- , this has to be my favourite bossa nova album by a mile. Getz is probably the MVP, the warm and smooth tone of his saxophone opens up new levels of peace of mind. Girl From Ipanema is easily the highlight, its vocals are plain heavenly.
7.5/10.


Jan Johansson - Jazz På Svenska
Speaking of relaxing records, this is as calm as it gets. Funnily enough, my ignorant self tends to associate Scandinavia with metal music, so an album that lies on the other end of the spectrum certainly makes an impression. There’s a lot to like here, its minimal attitude is full of delicacy and elegance. It’s heavily influenced by classical music, so I guess it’s not that much of a surprise. At the same time, it has enough personality to stand out from American releases of a similar type. Just as it was the case with the album right above, I’m making a note to myself that I need to revisit this, I suspect it will grow on me.
7.5/10.


Booker Ervin - The Freedom Book
A very fine mix of traditional and progressive elements that I find highly appealing. There’s no doubt Cry Me Not is my favourite track of the album, this ballad brilliantly showcases his lyrical side. Still, everything here is lovely and creates an exciting yet comforting vibe. Even though Alan Dawson’s drumming is very emphatic in the style of someone like Philly Joe Jones, for some unknown reason it didn’t bother me in the slightest as it usually does.
7.5/10.


Nina Simone - Nina Simone In Concert
Ok, this is my favourite Nina Simone album and it’s not even close. Most stars shine brighter on stage compared to the studio and this is a great example of that tendency. Love the atmosphere, especially the longer tracks are sure to haunt you. The most impressive thing is how they avoid anything excessive, they achieve this through a “less is more” attitude. It goes on easy on the surface, but there’s an almost uncomfortable intimacy and an underlying intensity that covers a wide range of emotions. There’s also the humorous Go Limp that establishes a lighter mood and is definitely a welcome addition.
7.5/10.
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  • #375
  • Posted: 01/18/2022 22:15
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Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - ...edom Rider
I don’t know what’s going on lately, maybe I’m in a good mood, but I seem to overrate everything. Who would have thought a day would come that I would enjoy an Art Blakey album so much. It’s hard to tell how or why I prefer this to some other – highly acclaimed - efforts of The Jazz Messengers. For the most part they follow the same successful formula, which somehow clicked with me this time. One explanation could be that these tracks were mostly unknown to me, so the surprise value was higher. Anyway, I guess the main point is that this is a great album.
7.5/10.


Donald Byrd - A New Perspective
I have mixed feelings for this one. The vocals bring it a bit down, which is a shame as it is an excellent hard bop effort with a few touches of cool jazz that go a long way. Talk about a wasted chance.
7/10.


The Supremes - Where Did Our Love Go
There’s one reason to check this album out. Baby Love is a wonderful song that’s broken time and is still playing literally everywhere. The rest of the album is ok-ish and definitely entertaining but rather forgettable, as it fails to make a lasting impression or reward multiple listens. If I’m being totally honest, I’ve never been huge on the self-titled track either. If that’s their best album, then I guess it’s safe to call them a singles group.
7/10.
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  • #376
  • Posted: 01/19/2022 22:13
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Grachan Moncur III - Evolution
I had high hopes for this album. First of all, I know this is viewed as an underground classic of sorts. Also, the lineup is a dream team, those names are simply legendary. Setting the bar too high can hinder the enjoyment of anything, including music, so maybe I should have approached it with more caution. Don’t get me wrong, it was very good, but I was expecting something that would rock my world and it’s easy to tell it didn’t. Still, the self-titled track was great, its atmosphere is so gloomy and so thick you can’t escape, that’s a real downer. And of course the tribute to Monk is spot on, playful and unconventional.
7.5/10.


Herbie Hancock - Inventions And Dimensions
Herbie’s second – unless I’m mistaken, it’s first in chronological order, second to be posted here - album to be released in 1964. If you are a fan of his playing style, there are few instances where it is put on display with such clarity as it does here. Herbie the pianist is in fine form. Overall, though, I have to admit I don’t consider it one of his most interesting releases – which isn’t a terrible thing, his discography is full of great stuff and as a result the competition is tough. I’d begin with Empyrean Isles and then move on to this when it comes to 1964. On the other hand, there were more than a few moments I liked, such as the uptempo Jack Rabbit with its cheerful mood and its addictive theme. There’s also Mimosa, which brings some cool and exotic rhythms to the table.
7/10.


Sam Cooke - Ain't That Good News
My favourite album of his and I can’t believe it was his last. His voice is as crystal clear as ever, no surprises in that department, so it has to be the song selection that puts it over the top. He is so charismatic that he can handle a variety of material with tremendous ease. Hard or soft, romantic or humorous, emotional or easy-going, it all feels so natural and effortless.
7.5/10.
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  • #377
  • Posted: 01/20/2022 22:06
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Woody Guthrie - Dust Bowl Ballads
I know this may be viewed as cheating, considering that the “proper” album was released in 1940 and this is a mere reissue with a few minor changes – actually, it can get quite confusing, as there are two different ones, both from 1964, not to mention the 1950 and the 2000 versions, go figure. Anyway, I guess it doesn’t matter that much, the main point is you should try to get your hands on any of them. One of the most important albums of all time – and that’s not only when it comes to American Folk Music, but in general. A concept album long before concept albums were a thing, he is using real life experiences revolving around the Dust Bowl as a source of inspiration to drop some dead straight socio-political commentary without compromising his wit or losing touch with reality by getting overly didactic. That’s songwriting at its finest, entertaining and thought-provoking. Sure, there’s a chance I might be slightly overrating it, but I can’t help it, the man is Dylan before Dylan and it should be obvious by now what my relationship with the man is – I seriously doubt anyone has written anything regarding Woody in the last 40-50 years without bringing up Dylan.
8.5/10.
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  • #378
  • Posted: 01/21/2022 22:00
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Chuck Berry - St. Louis To Liverpool
Promised Land is the big one here. The singles may not reach the absurd heights of the past – the only one I really like here is Promised Land. However, it is considered to work better as an album, something I don’t understand, as it’s not that consistent, it loses steam towards the end. Of course, Chuck Berry is extremely entertaining - as always. By the time of this album’s release, rock had already become huge – thanks to Chuck Berry of course – and bands like The Beatles were taking over, it’s nice to see him keeping up with the young guns.
5.5/10.


John Coltrane Quartet - Crescent
Coltrane starts losing touch with earthy pleasures and gets lost into his own spiritual kingdom. In that sense, you could call it a transitional record, A Love Supreme is round the corner. Bessie’s Blues is completely unnecessary, a fine track on its own that unfortunately breaks the mood, it's the odd one out.
6/10.


The Yardbirds - Five Live Yardbirds
I guess the only reason you should check it out is if you are a fan of Eric Clapton and you think you need everything he ever did. Otherwise, it’s nothing more than solid, a bit generic rock/r & b music of its time, no major surprises – neither good nor bad.
5/10.
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  • #379
  • Posted: 01/22/2022 22:53
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Solomon Burke - Rock 'N Soul
I’ve never spent enough time listening to him, but it has to be said that Solomon Burke is a wonderful singer, his performance is the epitome of soul, filled with emotion. Sadly, that doesn’t apply to the song selection, as most of them are subpar – maybe they are meant to compliment his style and sure they do, but other than that they are rather forgettable on their own.
6.5/10.


Otis Redding - Pain In My Heart
Speaking of emotional soul singers, one simply can’t miss Otis Redding. Another gone way too soon artist that had so much more to offer. Despite his limited time, he will always be a very serious candidate for the “greatest singer of all time” title. If there’s one complaint to be made concerning this album, it’s rather obvious: too many covers. Still, if there’s anyone that can get away with it, it’s Otis Redding. He can make everything work, though as a general rule I slightly prefer the ballads compared to the harder, up-tempo tracks here. You don’t need me to tell you that Pain In My Heart and These Arms Of Mine are the two heavy hitters, though there’s hardly a weak track. (I'm afraid my ratings have gotten out of control lately, so I'll show some restraint for now and - in danger of underrating it - reserve the right to change it anytime.)
8/10.


Horace Silver Quintet - Song For My Father
Not the most forward-thinking or groundbreaking jazz album out there, but it doesn’t need to be any of that. This embodies joy in a way few albums have achieved, it is determined to celebrate the wonder of life. And of course shout-out to Joe Henderson, who arguably steals the show – he appears on tracks 1,2,4 and 5, it can’t be a coincidence those are the greatest parts of the album, especially Song For My Father and The Natives Are Restless Tonight.
7/10.


Buffy Sainte-Marie - It's My Way!
Interesting for sure. On the other hand, I have a history of struggling with most female folk singers. I don’t know, they seem to be a bit weird, occasionally somewhat childish - for lack of a better word - too, perhaps they are trying too hard to create their own voice/artistic identity. It should have been a powerful statement, I can sense an underlying tension, but in the end it doesn’t reach me, it’s lost somewhere in the way. Of course I can’t deny the greatness of songs like Universal Soldier. Also, I liked the second half more than the first, so there’s a chance it takes some time to get accustomed to her style.
7/10.
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  • #380
  • Posted: 01/23/2022 21:41
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Jerry Lee Lewis And The Nashville Teens...b, Hamburg
What a legendary performance. If anyone asks you what rock and roll is, simply point him/her to this album, incredible energy throughout its entirety that perfectly captures the restless spirit that characterised the rebellious youth of the time.
7/10.


SImon & Garfunkel - Wednesday Morning, 3AM
1964 had many important debuts (I’ve already brought up The Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, The Ronettes, The Animals, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Otis Redding and wait until I get to The Kinks) and this definitely belongs near the very top of that list, I consider it slightly underrated. True, it does contain many covers and some of them are rather unnecessary, but the few originals are clearly worth it. And of course The Sounds Of Silence is a monumental song that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Paul Simon has already found his own style, this sort of “sensitive protest” is so honest, so direct and so touching, it really does the trick. Even when the songs aren’t that great on their own, one can always admire their beautiful vocal harmonies that are in no way inferior to The Beatles or The Beach Boys – which is the biggest compliment one can get in that department.
7.5/10.


John Coltrane - Coltrane's Sound
Ok, this was a minor setback in the recent progress I’ve made regarding my relationship with John Coltrane. It was recorded way back in 1960, which could be a possible explanation, as it doesn’t match the introspective mood I’d expect from a 1964 release by the man. Of course Coltrane is as far from a one-trick pony as it gets, he can do hard bop as good as anyone, so there’s a lot of great stuff to discover here, my favourite being Liberia.
7/10.
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